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Southold Town police officer suspended without pay pending disciplinary hearing

A Southold Town police officer has been suspended without pay pending the results of a disciplinary hearing.

The Southold Town Board convened for a special meeting Wednesday, where they unanimously approved a resolution ordering the suspension and appointing a hearing officer for a disciplinary action involving the employee, who was identified only as town employee #3990. The board did not publicly disclose the reason for the suspension.

Publicly available police reports, PBA records and other town documents identify town employee #3990 as officer Richard Jernick III, who has been employed by the department since 2008.

According to Section 75 of the state’s civil service law, public employees, including police officers, cannot be removed or subjected to any disciplinary penalties until after a hearing is complete.

Employees facing disciplinary hearings have a right to representation and  may be suspended without pay for a period not exceeding 30 days. Possible penalties at the conclusion of a hearing include a fine, demotion or dismissal.

A Town Board agenda from Dec. 1 shows the Town Board met with police chief Martin Flatley in an executive session after a work session to discuss labor matters involving the employment of a particular person.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell declined comment on the matter Wednesday afternoon, saying it was a personnel issue.

Chief Flatley also declined comment on the disciplinary matter, deferring a reporter’s inquiry to Town Attorney Bill Duffy, who did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.